California: Legislative Package Seeking To Clarify, Regulate Medical Cannabis Sent to Governor

California lawmakers approved a series of bills in the final hours of the 2015 legislative session that seek to establish statewide rules and oversight governing the distribution of medicinal cannabis. The three bills — Assembly Bill 266, Senate Bill 643, and Assembly Bill 243 — now await final approval from Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown.

Much of the measures’ finalized language was amended and approved by lawmakers at the close of the session and was not subject to public testimony or significant floor debate.

Specifically, the legislative package creates a Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation within the Department of Consumer Affairs to develop rules and licensing procedures for authorized medical cannabis dispensaries. Dispensaries will be required to operate in accordance with local guidelines prior to receiving a state license. State-licensed dispensaries will be permitted to operate on a ‘for profit’ basis. However, the new regulations do not override municipal moratoriums that are already in place prohibiting such operations in various jurisdictions throughout the state, nor do they prohibit the collection of local sales taxes on marijuana purchases in communities that presently impose them.

Separate language in the bills seeks to regulate the licensed production of cannabis and imposes rules in regard to growing, testing, and labeling cannabis like other agricultural products. The bills also seek to provide additional oversight to physicians who recommend cannabis therapy. However, the measures do not limit physicians from recommending cannabis at their own discretion — activity which is codified under Proposition 215/the Compassionate Use Act.

Proposed language seeking to impose an excise tax on various cannabis products was not included in the final bill package.

If signed into law, the new regulations will take effect in 2017.

California voters initially approved Proposition 215 in 1996, which permits qualified patients to possess and/or grow marijuana for therapeutic purposes. However, the measure did not provide language explicitly providing for third-party providers outside of assigned caregivers, instead calling upon state lawmakers “to implement a plan of safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana.”

California NORML has additional information of the measures here and here.

8 thoughts

  1. WOW, red tape fest. This will significantly increase the cost of medical cannabis in California. All that testing, licensing & compliance is going to cost a ton and get passed on to patients. I also see the end of small collectives, they will never be able to offset the cost of compliance. This will end mom and pop collectives and usher in the err of corporate medical cannabis.

  2. This is what legalization looks like folks. Just a lot of BS to deal with just like any other legitimate business. kinda takes the fun out of it.

  3. per se law idea:

    Have a multi talented guy smoke a ridiculous amount of weed in the morning, wait 4-8 hours, then have him successfully drive a challenging course, stand on his head, do calculus, take a field sobriety test, say the alphabet forwards and backwards, etc, etc, make a viral video about it, so the world can see how dumb per se dui laws are.

    Roadside tests should test fir active thc only, not metabolites.

  4. Hummmmm, Shades of 1937?

    Harry J. Anslinger testified before Congress and the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act of 1937 became law. The law required that to possess marijuana one must have a Federal tax stamp for it, but in order to get the stamp you must have the marijuana in hand. Well, if you have the marijuana in hand you had already broken the law. Additionally Anslinger knew there would be no stamps issued anyway.

  5. Hummmmmm, A couple thoughts here:

    Do local “Farmer’s Markets” have similar rules in regard to growing, testing, and labeling their veggies?

    Someone forgot about the little guys here?

    Much of the measures’ finalized language was amended and approved by lawmakers at the close of the session and was not subject to public testimony or significant floor debate.

    Why is Marinol, which contains pure THC a Schedule III drug?
    And why do they manufacture it as a prescription drug if it has no medical use??

  6. The 215 amendment that got the ball rolling in 1996, that sent reverberations across the globe,with a domino effect,has been raped and gutted out, internally in California by some evil bureaucrats in conjunction with police unions.

    Regulation should not mean Strangulation

    The only remedy left at this point, is full on Legalization in California.


  7. And I welcome the return of an underground market which these clowns keep laying the foundations for. Can’t count on a politician to be reasonable

  8. Yet again, our stupid politicians screwed everything up. We have the most disfuntional government in all 50 states, lead by a moron named Brown. I’m all for regulations, but the structure is written by a bunch of morons that have no clue to what it really takes to run a business. So now we need to hire transporters and have everything go to a distributor?!? Um last time I checked, if you make beer, wine or other alcoholic drinks, you can produce it and sell directly to stores.

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